FAYETTEVILLE — The University of Arkansas gymnastics team wrapped up the 2005 season with team awards and a banquet Wednesday at the Embassy Suites in Rogers, Ark. Co-head coaches Mark and Rene Cook recapped the successful season and honored several Gym’Backs with team awards. The Gym’Backs, in just their third season of competition, reached their highest ever team ranking finishing the regular season ranked 15th in the country. The team made its second consecutive trip to the NCAA Regional Championships, this year as one of the top 18 teams in the country and were seeded. Finally, Arkansas sent its first athlete to the NCAA Championship as junior Dana McQuillin qualified in the all-around. "In just three short seasons, we’ve gone beyond ‘I hope’ and into ‘we expect’," said co-head coach Rene Cook. "This team has been a joy to be around. They have more heart and character than any other team I’ve been around and it’s been a great season." Junior Melissa Leigh was recognized with the team’s Scholastic Award and has posted three consecutive semesters with perfect 4.0 grade point averages. Freshman Mallory Machnik was awarded the team’s Spirit Award and freshman Emily Peacock took home the team’s Most Consistent Performer award. Sophomore Rachel Barnett, who began the season competing just the floor and finished as an all-arounder, was named Most Improved, while McQuillin was named Most Outstanding for her consistency and for reaching the NCAA Championship. Finally, junior Katie Hardman earned the Coaches Award. For more information about Arkansas gymnastics, log on to LADYBACKS.COM.
Scholastic Award: Melissa Leigh
Spirit Award: Mallory Machnik
Most Consistent Performer: Emily Peacock
Most Improved: Rachel Barnett
Most Outstanding: Dana McQuillin
Coaches Award: Katie Hardman